Around the Town with Rene

Kornbleet Scholar Haynes speaks at Beth-El

Dr. Charles C. Haynes, senior scholar at the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center in Washington, D.C., wowed the crowd at the recent Larry Kornbleet Memorial Scholar-in Residence program. The annual event, sponsored by the Jewish Federation with financial support from the Kornbleet Scholar-in-Residence Fund and the Molly Roth Endowment Fund, is a gift to the community by Marcia and Stan Kurtz in memory of their loved ones.
Dr. Haynes began his talk by contrasting the reception of the first Jews to arrive in New Amsterdam in 1654 with the welcome the group received from Roger Williams in Rhode Island four years later. The group that arrived in Rhode Island was given citizenship, the right to own land and the right to build a synagogue. The Jews in New Amsterdam were treated as second-class citizens with few rights, least of all the right to practice their religion. Those same religious freedoms are under attack today by well-meaning people who believe that the U.S. Constitution established a Christian nation.
Dr. Haynes answered questions about the Supreme Court’s recent decision on corporate political spending and the clamor by the religious right to put creationism into the public school curriculum. He explained that the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution limited states from enforcing laws contrary to the First Amendment. He also mentioned previous trips to Texas concerning First Amendment lawsuits in the Plano and Katy school districts.
At the reception following the program, Dr. Haynes was peppered with questions from audience members who explained some of their personal problems with First Amendment violation, especially in their local schools. Honored guests included Pat Hardy, State Board of Education member from District 11, and Dr. Ron Flowers, a national board member of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Dr. Haynes, an accomplished speaker, was certainly an asset to the Scholar-in-Residence program and well worth hearing.

CAS film series continues

Once again, Ahavath Sholom screened a movie that awed members of the Fort Worth community. “Praying with Lior,” shown at Zale Auditorium on Jan. 17, was the second installment in the synagogue’s “‘Til 120 and Beyond” Jewish film series. Undaunted by the Cowboys’ defeat, viewers were treated to a heartwarming film that touched the hearts and souls of all those in attendance.
The third film in the series, “Orthodox Stance,” explores the conflict between professional sports and religious observance. Fans of boxing will find this film to be engaging and exciting. “Orthodox Stance” will screen on Sunday, Feb. 21, at 3:30 p.m. The doors will open at 3 for those who want to come early for a good seat.
Films, popcorn and lemonade are free. Cold drinks and candy bars are on sale with the proceeds going to CAS’ Fort Worth United Synagogue Youth organization.
Thanks to the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County for generously funding the film series. Come and enjoy and be a part of Congregation Ahavath Sholom’s “‘Til 120 and Beyond” experience.

Mother and Daughter Bat Mitzvah Program

Added thanks to the generosity of the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County for a special course titled “Mother and Daughter Bat Mitzvah Program,” now in progress. The program was created in Israel by the MaTaN Institute, a women’s institute for Torah studies. The facilitator of the course is the multi-talented Batya Brand and the participation is overwhelming. Each session is devoted to an important woman in Jewish History, starting with Rebecca and ending with Hannah Senesh. The lessons include study groups, chevrutah, skits, songs, dances and discussions. The goal is to afford the opportunity for mothers and daughters to explore and discover the contribution of Jewish women who left their mark on our people. We cry and laugh together, we act and dance together — but most importantly, we leave with pride in discovering the long list of Jewish women leaders.
For more information on the MaTaN Program, please contact Ilana Knust, 817-332-714, who said, “I know it’s too late for this session, but it is a wonderful program to consider for next year.”
To ensure your space, it would be wise to plan early registration.

Texas Boys Choir comes to perform for ‘Daytimers’

In its history, the Texas Boys Choir has traveled to Australia, Japan, England, Mexico, Latvia and Germany. They have sung for the pope, the president, kings and heads of State. They have appeared numerous times on national television and on radio broadcasts. As part of a recent tour, the choir had a major appearance at Carnegie Hall in New York, and next month the choir will sing for the “Daytimers,” Feb. 17 at noon at Beth-El Congregation.
The Texas Boys Choir was founded in 1946 by George Bragg to provide any boy, regardless of socio-economic or ethnic background, a structured environment for the development of his singing gifts, creating a world-class performing choir of boys. In addition to singing a wide variety of music, the Texas Boys Choir is unique in another very important way. Only a few boy choirs in the United States are trained while attending their own school. Any student, male and female, regardless of race, religion, disability or income, who wishes to study the fine arts along with a challenging academic curriculum, can attend the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts. The school offers classes in music, visual arts, theater, dance and instrumental music, completing the whole experience of performing and visual arts for each student.
Its high level of performance has earned the Texas Boys Choir two Grammy Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, three George Washington Honor Medal Awards from the Freedom Foundation, a Bronze Award from the International Film and Television Festival of New York and a gold medal in Mixed Boys’ Choirs at the 2004 Choir Olympics in Bremen, Germany.
Lunch will be catered by Ol’ South Pancake House, and guests have a choice of kosher salami on rye, turkey on whole wheat, or tuna salad on rye. Lunch is $9, or guests may attend the program only for $4.
This a unique opportunity to hear the Texas Boys Choir on our own turf. Don’t miss this opportunity. They not only are indeed extremely talented, but they present a unique performance.
For reservations, call Barbara Rubin, 817-927-2736, or Sylvia Wexler, 817-294-1129, or checks can be mailed to Daytimers, Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109.
The Sylvia Wolens “Daytimers” is a program of Beth-El Congregation with financial support from the Jewish Federation.

JWI to present two informative programs

It’s worth being an early riser if you haven’t had the good fortune to hear one of Fort Worth’s top professionals. Here’s your chance! Jewish Women’s International will present Dr. Carole Rogers on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 9:30 a.m. at Temple Beth-El. Dr. Rogers will speak on “Healthy Relationships.”
Back by popular demand, Watchdog Dave Lieber will speak on Wednesday, March 3, at 9:30 a.m. at the Temple about his new book “How to Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong.”

Press notes

Happy birthday greetings to the Beckerman team, Greta and David, sharing January birthdays. Good news: Brother and sister, Leon Brachman and Madlyn Barnett, are recuperating at their respective homes. While we are all blessed with wonderful children, special accolades to Suzie Herman for the love and care she gives to her mom, Gerry Brown. Dr. Javier and Dina Smolarz will be missed when they move to their new home in Israel after the High Holy Days.

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